CLEO’s work with libraries

A starting point

Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) supports community organizations – including libraries – in reaching their clients and communities with reliable legal information.

Libraries are already known to the public as a community hub or key access point to go to for information and help when they are experiencing a health, legal, or other problem. People visiting libraries for legal information may be doing so for a variety of reasons, including:

  • to gain a basic understanding of a legal problem
  • to find out where to get legal help
  • to do research about the law to help prepare them (or a friend or family member) to take steps in a legal process
  • to research a legal topic for a school project or other general purpose

CLEO’s work with public libraries to date

Ontario’s public libraries are among over 1,500 organizations that order and distribute CLEO’s print materials every year. In recent years, as part of our outreach and capacity-building work, CLEO has explored additional ways to better support and partner with Ontario’s public libraries. In addition to providing them with CLEO’s print resources, examples of our efforts include:

  • offering in-person legal information training workshops to library staff, including participating in the Librarians and Access to Justice Outreach Project in Eastern Ontario
  • providing online webinars for library staff, to reach staff located in rural and remote areas
  • sending bulletins to library staff (using our database of 260 library contacts, to date), informing them of CLEO’s selected online and print resources of particular relevance to libraries, and of upcoming training opportunities
  • reaching out to libraries to support their promotion of CLEO’s online resources – for example, through bookmarking on library computers

Thoughts for the future

CLEO is interested in working with Ontario’s public libraries, law libraries, and law school libraries to support and improve the legal information-related resources and services they offer to their patrons. Based on the needs of libraries’ patrons and library staff, and working with other legal clinics and justice partners, we think that our collective efforts could help people better understand and exercise their legal rights – a critical component of meaningful access to justice.

To meet with us or to share your ideas, please email us.

Or, why not consider booking one of our legal capability workshops or webinars?